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Entries in Chris Nolan (32)


What's Next for Nolan

Kieran here. It was announced yesterday that Christopher Nolan's next feature film will be released on July 21, 2017.  Very specific release date for a project whose title/plot/cast have yet to be revealed, but this is Christopher Nolan after all. I can't think of too many directors who could announce a new project with very few details well over a year in advance and generate this kind of excitement. He's the "arthouse" director of choice for moviegoers who generally scorn the arthouse and yet he's often the fulcrum of the problematic "the Academy doesn't respect populist fare" argument. Quite an odd space to occupy in the consciousness of the cinematically minded.

With this new project, speculation about plot details and recitations of an ideal roster of actors are sure to follow. Questions of genre definitely loom in the back of the mind when you consider Nolan. He tends to work within some combination of sci-fi, mystery and thriller, though it's certainly not on every director to stretch, genre-wise. 

We're much more interested to see if Nolan's characterizations of women (or lack thereof in some cases) changes at all. Regardless of one's opinion about Nolan's overall output, it's hard to refute with any sincerity the argument that female characters in his films often get short shrift. Will this new project be any different? Interstellar, his most recent effort, is the closest he's come to handing the reins of a movie over to a female character. He does ultimately opt for following Matthew McConnaughey drifting solo through space, but you do still get what appear to be the first glimpses (with Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway) of Nolan attempting to imagine female characters from the inside out. Sure, you  could argue that these two women were motivated by their relationships to men, be it paternal or romantic. And yet there was an interest, however marginal, in women that's just not present in his other films.

I instantly thought of Viola Davis, who fit so well into the cold, eerie aesthetic of Steven Soderbergh's Solaris and how rarely she's given front-and-center focus in her non-televised projects. I would be fascinated to see what Davis could do at the center of a Nolan-helmed sci-fi outing. At any rate, aren't you curious to see if Nolan continues to improve his female characters after Interstellar or do you suppose we're in for more spectral wives and asexual audience surrogates?

Will Nolan ever give us a female protagonist?

What would you like to see from Nolan? Which actress could ignite his curiosities in an interesting way? Discuss in the comments.


Interstellar Takes Top Empire Honors

Manuel here bringing you more awards from this past weekend; Nathaniel wasn't the only one still handing out awards for the 2014 film year. The Jameson Empire Awards were handed out this past weekend (as were Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Awards which were gaga for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1). Unsurprisingly, it was Christopher Nolan's divisive Interstellar which nabbed its two top prizes. 

Nolan was also on hand to receive the Empire Inspiration Award, which I guess was as good an excuse as any to see Jessica Chastain looking fabulous (she presented the award to her Interstellar director).

Check out the full winners list below.

Click to read more ...


An Interview with Hans Zimmer

Anne Marie here with an observation: Hans Zimmer's studio is incredible. The ten-time Academy Award nominated composer has furnished his studio in a manner that fits the man who wrote the dramatic scores to Inception, Gladiator, and the Dark Knight trilogy. The walls are deep red, and lined with dark wood bookshelves bursting with books, albums, candles, and knick knacks. Light filters through stained glass-covered hanging lamps. Overstuffed couches and chairs sit on a raised platform. Clashing with this rustic scene are the walls of musical instruments, blinking sound equipment, and Zimmer's high tech work station. It's a lot to take in.

When I'm led into the room for an interview, I'm still recovering from car trouble. I'd been listening to Zimmer's Oscar-nominated score for Interstellar in the car, which had somehow led to my car stalling on the highway. Miraculously, I'm not late. When I meet Hans Zimmer, he is deservedly proud of his workspace, and immediately launches into conversation. Zimmer speaks animatedly of his decorating philosophy, decades-long partnership with Chris Nolan, the trouble with organs, and why he loves the Academy.

Anne Marie: This is an amazing room. This is quite possibly the coolest room I have ever been in.

Hans Zimmer: No, but hang on. There’s a reason. There’s a pragmatic reason: If you had to spend 98% of your life in one room, you might as well have some fun with it. Do you agree?

 Anne Marie: I absolutely agree!

 Hans Zimmer: And you know what, sometimes we just move the furniture out of this way and let the musicians come in, and we just start playing, and wow! Music!

Anne Marie: Oh my goodness! Talk about a great creative space.

Hans Zimmer: And that was, that was partly why I did it. I was sitting with this wonderful editor, Richie Marks, y’know [he] worked on Apocalypse Now, and all the Jim Brooks movies, Penny Marshall [films], The Godfather too. I’m sitting on the couch in his cutting room, I’m sort of leaning back, and I’m looking at the--what do you call those, y’know the ceiling with the sort of… they look like cottage cheese.

Anne Marie: Ceiling tiles I think?

Hans Zimmer: Right? It’s horrible! And the walls, which have this y’know horrible hospital color, and I’m thinking, “This great man is trying to create art!” and y’know the bad linoleum floor. Y’know? And this is, this is, this is, every day he has to go to this horrible room! So, Richie doesn’t actually know this, but it was really partially because I thought, “Poor Richie, in this horrible environment! I’m going to do my own!”

Anne Marie: Well from such an environment, I can see where something dramatic like Interstellar came from. I have to admit, my car stalled on the way here while I was listening to the Interstellar soundtrack!

Hans Zimmer: [Laughs] It’ll do that to cars!

[Interstellar and Oscar Love after the jump...]

Click to read more ...


Beauty vs Beast: Two Total Bettys

JA from MNPP here, surfing the crimson wave to today's round of "Beauty vs Beast" - today would've been the 37th birthday of Brittany Murphy, you guys. And since we can hardly let that terrible Lifetime movie be the absolute and final word on her legacy (I watched about fifteen minute of that thing and I was all, "As if!") let's step our memories back to happier times, when the skirts were short and the socks were knee-high...


It's maybe a stretch to call Tai the villain of Clueless, but she is the antagonist that shakes up Cher's insulated world, so just go with me. And it's not like anybody would vote for Cher's actual nemesis, Designer Imposter Perfume Amber.

You have seven days to negotiate your final grades in the comments!

PREVIOUSLY In celebration of Interstellar's release (here in retrospect I kind of wish I'd waited until I saw the interminable movie first - ugh) we gave last week's competition over to Christopher Nolan's most memorable battle of the comic-book titans, and y'all voted chaos to reign - Heath Ledger's Joker strutted away in a blow-out with over 80% of the vote. Said Daniel Armour:

"If were just talking about The Dark Knight then the Joker. I loved Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman overall but TDK didn't give him as much to do as the other films. Also, Ledger was excellent as The Joker and truly deserved the acclaim - and awards - he got for the film."


Review: Interstellar

Michael C here with your weekend review...

With its plot about humanity taking the next step of evolution into outer space, it was inevitable that Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar would be compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey. But despite surface similarities the comparison is a poor one. Nolan has never shown any inclination towards the kind of mind-expanding abstractions that constitute Kubrick’s version of the infinite. It is no coincidence that Interstellar’s plot centers around Jessica Chastain’s quest to complete an equation. Nolan movies demand answers. Even when his films appear to be ambiguous they pull back to reveal an underlying order. The mysteries of The Prestige are shown to be a complex web of interlocking secrets; the infamous spinning totem from Inception’s ending isn’t an enigma so much as the precise punchline to an elaborate riddle. Even the blazing anarchy of the Joker takes the form of moral conundrums with tidy binary choices.

So to complain that Nolan is no Kubrick is both accurate and something of a non-sequitor. Nolan is not going to stop being Nolan and whether that qualifies as a good thing will vary according to viewers’ willingness to ignore the persistent groaning sound of the plot buckling under the weight of ponderous exposition. Interstellar is no different than Nolan’s other films in this regard, but it’s also the same in that its peaks are so amazing they justify wading through all manner of shortcomings to reach them. Interstellar may be overstuffed and clunky and it crosses the line into silliness more than once, but every so often it will lay a fingertip or two on the sublime. How many films can make that claim? 

Click to read more ...


Beauty vs Beast: Chris Nolan's Anti Heroics

JA from MNPP here with this week's latest "Beauty Vs Beast" tourno, wherein we ask you to choose between a good guy and a bay guy (half of those words should have meaningful quotation marks around them -- good, bad, what does it all mean???) from the halls of movie-dom and explain why you're on this or that team. This week Chris Nolan's got a new picture coming out so I figured we'd hit up one of his flicks; I contemplated a couple of other choices (DiCaprio versus Cotillard? Pearce versus Pantoliano?) but it just comes down to one in the end, doesn't it?

Going back to The Dark Knight does have a couple of knocks against it for this series - Nathaniel was just bemoaning the internet's blanket-coverage of superhero movies a few days ago, for goodness sake, and also we've already done a showdown between a Batman & Joker when we looked at Tim Burton's 1989 flick back in June. But but... but, ya know? If I'd gone with Bale vs Hardy, it just would've felt like a chance missed - the shadow of Heath Ledger's performance towers too great. So we gotta go with...


As always you have seven days to clear your throats and make yourselves heard - are we with the compromised brooder or the gleeful maniac - in the comments, so have at it. Die a hero or live long enough to become the villain, y'all.

PREVIOUSLY We finished up our four weeks of October "Final Girl" series with John Carpenter's Halloween and sure enough the girl smart enough to turn a wire-hanger into a weapon won our hearts once again. Said brookesboy of Laurie Strode, ultimate final girl:

"Gotta go with Laurie. Thanks to the virtuous precedent she set, all teen heroines with virginal fortitude who came after were spared the slasher's wrath. Their resistance of carnal pleasure guaranteed their safety, at least until the sequel. Thanks, Laurie. I'm sure the knee socks helped."


Interstellar Mania in 3...2...1

If you've been on the internet at all in the last half hour you're likely to have seen a tidal wave of Interstellar reviews. The embargo broke on Christopher Nolan's first feature after his release from Batman prison today at 11 AM. The film makes it debut in theaters on Friday November 7th in a variety of formats but see it in IMAX 70 MM because it is epically large and immersive that way.

If you've been putting up with The Film Experience for any length of time you'll know that yours truly, Nathaniel, is not the speediest critic. My interest in screaming "first" is practically less than nil which can be a disadvantage online but it's not who I am. Never cared about it. Never will. Time is a flat circle, yadda yadda yadda. My review is forthcoming at some point. It was meant to go up today but I caught a cold so I may surround myself with screenings and kleenex rather than writing. To Be Determined.

Let if suffice to say for the moment that I liked it and it might well be my favorite Nolan since The Prestige (2006) though it should be noted again that I am not at all indicative of public reaction when it comes to the Internet's Chosen One to whom I am relatively cool. I'm still parsing my thoughts on it but I found it endearing in some of the exact same ways that I normally find his films offputting. Go figure and we'll get to that later. The Oscar Prediction charts are fully updated in all categories.

P.S. It seems people are freaking out about the non-spectacular early RT score already. T'was ever thus with Nolan films